Bella Models Magazine - Beautiful Worlds. Home for aspiring artists and Fashion.
Bella Models - Home for aspiring artists and Fashion  


Bella Models Magazine - Beautiful Worlds. Home for aspiring artists and Fashion
Bella Mondos Magazine - Beautiful Worlds. Home for aspiring artists.

Cover Girl - Sarah Furtak

Tell us about your journey into the modeling world. What motivated you to pursue this career, and how did you get started?

Thank you for this opportunity to talk with Bella Models! My name is Sarah Furtak and my pronouns are she/her. My modeling career began many years ago when I enrolled in a Women’s Professional Modeling Program with John Casablancas. Modeling has always been my dream job, and from the program with John Casablancas I gained lifelong benefits of self confidence, poise, and communication skills that are transferable to all aspects of my life.

What has been the most memorable or transformative moment in your modeling career so far?

About 4 years ago I auditioned with John Casablancas Miami/Model Talent Management (MTM Agency) Miami, returning to modeling after several years away from it. My timing was perfect -- I interviewed with the President, who sought a coach for modeling classes. Instructing was the perfect activity to immerse me in a very upbeat, exciting, energetic place and share my passion for modeling while helping young people develop and be the best version of themselves. MTM Agency Miami booked me in my first runway show, with many other shows to follow, and from then on opportunities have blossomed in runway, photoshoots, and other events.

What role do you think diversity and inclusivity play in the fashion and modeling world? How have you seen positive changes taking place?

I have witnessed the incredibly beautiful and positive changes in diversity and inclusivity from the time I began my Women’s Professional Modeling Program many years ago through today. As I share with my talent in my classes, it is the best time ever for people of all gender expressions, sizes, heights, ages, and more in modeling! I can give you an example of an instance where a young talent checked me on my class content regarding photo movement and getting the best photo from each pose. Some of these “tips” in photo movement are steeped in tradition and, as I now better understand, outdated standards of “beauty” (e.g., minimizing hip line, minimizing bulging veins). The young woman explained to me that she would like others to see her authentically for all that she is (without hiding anything) as others may relate to her and feel more comfortable in their own skin. This was really eye-opening for me, and I’m more aware of how I discuss these options in photo movement.

Fashion often reflects cultural and social trends. In your opinion, how does the industry impact and respond to these shifts?

I wholeheartedly support sustainable fashion, zero waste, and making the fashion industry better for the planet, conservation, and all life on Earth. I love the initiatives in South Florida which hold these values in high regard. I have worked with designers and artists who prioritize these principles in their work (e.g., Pangea Kali Virga, Krelwear, Justin Haynes [JUS10H], Afanador), and it makes everything feel right. I hope this shift to ecofriendly fashion and art continues; there’s really no other option!

Sarah's Facebook Fan page

Could you share some behind-the-scenes stories from a memorable photo shoot or runway show that our readers might find fascinating?

I have really enjoyed working with all the local and international designers to date in runway shows and events; I have loved collaborating with all the other models, too. The modeling community is a “small world”— I’ve worked with models from Ft. Lauderdale in NYC and vice versa. I have recently become part of the modeling community in the Northeast, along with the modeling community with which I started in Florida, and I find the modeling community is a warm, genuine family. I have learned that modeling is so much more than appearance, height, size, physique, etc. Successful models are great team players who are passionate about helping bring artists’ visions to life. These artists include designers, photographers, makeup artists, hair artists, and more. Models help each other in the spotlight and behind the scenes – I have worn other models’ heels in a show because I did not have the right color heels of my own; I have shared items (camis, footwear) with fellow models without a second thought. When I tripped on some tricky runway stairs in NYC I felt very embarrassed, but was also enamored with the spectators who held out their arms to catch me if I were to fall (thankfully I did not fall!). Designers and coordinators appreciate genuinely helpful, punctual, flexible members on their team who can work well with others. Being reliable and genuine is so important! I believe these qualities are far more important than physical qualities (e.g., “beauty”)! I have also helped select and coordinate runway models for events and recognize the pricelessness of models who show up punctually, communicate well, and are pleasant to work with!

How do you handle the pressures and expectations that come with the modeling industry, especially regarding body image and self-confidence?

I love to exercise to maintain my physical and mental health! I enjoy walking, biking, hiking, joining group classes (e.g., Total Body, Cycling) at my local YMCA, and more! I feel like I am being proactive in maintaining my health and physical fitness, which is very uplifting and helps me combat stress and pressure I may experience in my professional and personal life.

What advice would you give to aspiring models looking to break into the industry? Are there any lessons you've learned along the way that you'd like to share?

If you aspire to model, go for it! You may have to challenge yourself to take the leap to attend a casting, audition, or show up for an event and follow through. I have experienced self-doubt, wondering if I should proceed, and ultimately trusted my instinct to show up. Being present and open is most of the battle and sets you apart from so many others. With time you will gain experience and expertise (I’m not sure there are shortcuts!). Most importantly, be prepared to invest in yourself. If you really want to model, you will need to work, seek opportunities, be a team player, and take good care of yourself. I highly recommend John Casablancas Miami as a great place to inform yourself about the industry, polish your skills, and network with experts.

Models often work with creative teams, including designers, photographers, and stylists. How do you collaborate with others to create memorable and impactful work?

In a recent South Florida photoshoot with Zambony Couture, designer Paola Zambony said it best, “In the world of creativity and artistry, the true magic often lies in the power of teamwork. It’s not just a collaboration of talents but a collage of ideas, skills, and perspectives coming together. We blend together and have fun…” To echo Designer Paola Zambony’s words, “I am humbled to have worked with such a dedicated and talented team,” and I believe that the teamwork is what makes a runway show, photoshoot, short film, or other artistic venture succeed. I respect the artist’s vision (whether it be the designer, photographer, makeup artist, hair artist) and bring a blank canvas to the event; I also bring to bear team spirit, flexibility, willingness to adapt, and patience. Sometimes these are full days, and one must be prepared and open to give time to realize the vision.

Outside of modeling, what are your passions and interests? How do you balance your modeling career with your personal life and other pursuits?

Beyond modeling, I am a Wildlife Biologist, Toastmaster (since 2006!), and Modeling and Acting Coach. I am passionate about conservation and environmental science while also flexing my creative muscles in modeling and acting. My hobbies allow me to meet a tremendous array of people in the modeling community, and I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know people of all ages, backgrounds, gender expressions, and cultures that I may not otherwise meet. I enjoy traveling, spending time with family and friends, participating in group exercise classes at my local YMCA, walking, hiking, biking, and relaxing at the beach! I do my best to balance modeling with my work in environmental science while not missing any opportunities or neglecting my responsibilities! So far, so good! Making sure I get enough rest, nourish myself with healthy foods and plenty of water, and exercise to maintain my physical and mental health are priorities I balance to allow me to better manage my work and other activities!

Paola Zambony-Zambony Couture

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